Volgograd is situated on the western bank of the Volga River, after which the city was named, and is one of the most beautiful ancient cities in Russia. Formerly known as Stalingrad and founded in the late 16th century, Volgograd has had several names - originally Tsaritsyn, then Stalingrad and then Volgograd again. It has an interesting and rich history with many historical monuments. WWII history enthusiasts on a Russia vacation will enjoy a visit to Volgograd the site of one of the best-known and important battles of the war. This battle marked a turning point in the war. In February 1943, the German advance was first halted and eventually turned back for good. Nearly two million casualties were incurred during this intense land battle, earning it the title of the bloodiest battle of World War II.
It is now a city with wide boulevards and public buildings that show off a grandeur on trips to Russia. The entire city is a historical sight. One of the most popular attractions is the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex, a hill overlooking Volgograd, where some of the most intense parts of the battle took place and a sacred place for locals and Russians. On the top of Mamayev Kurgan is a beautiful war memorial with an eternal flame and the ruined walls from the actual battle. Symbolize the 200 days of the Battle of Stalingrad, two hundred steps lead to the foot of the monument. The centrepiece is an extraordinary 72 metre/234 foot-high statue of Mother Russia wielding a sword.
The Panorama Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad is an enormous museum filled with exhibits from WWII and the battle itself. One of the highlights is the vivid 360-degree Battle of Stalingrad Panorama. The area around the museum has some attractive views over the river, and for children, there are lots of old tanks and planes.
The Rossoshka Memorial Cemetery, just outside of Volgograd, marks the resting place of around 20,000 Soviet soldiers and also 60,000 Germans. The Soviet soldiers are buried on one side of the road while the Germans are on the other with a small museum that holds remnants of the battles.
The Volga–Don Canal connects two great rivers of Europe, the Volga River and the Don River. Opened in 1952, the length of the waterway is 101 kilometres/63 miles.
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